DAVIS, Calif., Jan. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing to help California farmers and communities in wildfire-damaged areas which are now prone to mudslides and flooding. Current on-ground efforts are focused in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties to assess potential hazards. Additional USDA recovery and rehabilitation efforts continue to move forward in wildfire-damaged areas in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties.
"USDA provides a comprehensive package of programs and services designed to help California producers repair damages and reduce economic losses caused by natural disasters," said Rob Johansson, acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. "Additionally, we can help producers change how they manage their farm's resources to reduce the impact of future events."
Protecting Natural Resources and Communities
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides post-disaster assistance on private lands through three programs: the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA).
EWP provides technical and financial assistance to help local governments address emergency situations on private land. Currently this largely consists of directing mud and debris flow to protect homes, property and bodies of water. Eligible projects must have a county, city or special district sponsor and assessments begin only after affected areas are safe to enter. NRCS has funded EWP projects in Los Angeles County, and received assistance requests from the San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and the city of Ojai.
In response to community workshops in Santa Barbara County, NRCS is providing CTA assistance to local landowners to assess disaster damage and recommend treatment alternatives. Additionally, avocado, citrus and nursery producers have requested help through EQIP and other USDA programs. EQIP assists agricultural producers with needed conservation measures such as erosion control, drainage improvement on steep orchard roads and revegetation in key areas.
USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides much-needed recovery support to farmers, foresters and livestock producers through an extensive portfolio of emergency commodity, conservation, livestock and credit disaster assistance programs. FSA disaster assistance program benefits include loans and assistance for conservation, forestry restoration, and assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish, tree assistance and non-insured crops as well as emergency loans for access to capital.
Producers with coverage through the Federal crop insurance program administered by the Risk Management Agency should contact their crop insurance agent for issues regarding filing claims. Producers should report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
USDA continues to accept requests for disaster recovery assistance at both the local and state levels. For more information on available USDA assistance, contact a local field office at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA, or visit the Disaster Recovery Assistance webpage at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/?cid=nrcseprd1361073.
SOURCE USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service